NXT has had a hugely successful year with the so-called ‘developmental’ territory reaching new heights over the last 12 months.
From around 400 fans filling up Full Sail University over the last two years to see the top NXT stars in action, to selling out the Barclays Center, touring the UK and now going on to Dallas for a TakeOver special; nobody would have expected NXT to grow at the rate it has.
That means 2016 will only be bigger and better for NXT where more entertaining events will take place, more stars will break through, and we will see more fantastic matches. Here are my bold predictions for NXT in 2016.
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APOLLO CREWS, NIA JAX, CHAD GABLE AND JASON JORDAN ALL BECOME CHAMPIONS
It looks likely that at any stage in 2016 the current NXT Champion Finn Balor will move up to the main roster. He’s been vocal about wanting to stay on NXT for longer but eventually his time will come to move on up and showcase his immense talent on the big stage, this means an enormous opportunity will be open to becoming the champion.
Two big names instantly associated with the championship title will be Samoa Joe and Baron Corbin – the latter edging closer to a championship match – but I feel that the number one man on NXT in 2016 will be Apollo Crews. Crews has had a fantastic start to life in NXT, and he’s impressed every single week. He has a great look, and he can work better than most stars hired by the company, he’s unique, so I don’t think the WWE will pass on this opportunity.
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From what we’ve seen of Nia Jax, she has the potential to be a big star on NXT. It’s no secret that she has some areas to improve on, but she will do that, she looks like a hard worker on Breaking Ground and I think the determination to be a top star is there.
I believe when Bayley moves on to the main roster it should be – and could be – Jax who is the heel champion, rather than Eva Marie. She has a unique look and is different than any NXT Diva we have seen so that could work in her favour.
The NXT Tag Team Championship picture is usually wide open as NXT has had a history of skilled teams. From The Wyatt Family to The Shield, Enzo Amore and Big Cass to The Ascension, but the big team next year will be Jason Jordan and Chad Gable.
They’ve over so much with the crowd, and they haven’t stepped a foot wrong since joining forces. They too have a fantastic, amateur-wrestling gimmick and look which is working fantastically well for them and the only way is up. When Dash and Dawson drop the championships, I believe it will be Jordan and Gable that carry the division.
AN NXT MATCH WILL TAKE PLACE AT WRESTLEMANIA
This has been something that’s been debated for quite some time now, and the question has also been thrown in Triple H’s direction numerous times also. I feel that with TakeOver taking place in Dallas the WWE may opt not to have an NXT match at WrestleMania – but the company is always full of surprises.
Last year we saw the inclusion of Hideo Itami in the Andre the Giant memorial battle royal so we can’t rule that out as we may see a match between two NXT stars, even if it is on the pre-show. The WWE know how much success NXT brings, and perhaps Vince McMahon would want to see whether they can hang in the big time.
A potential match would be huge for the NXT brand as WrestleMania gets every media outlet talking, and good publicity would be huge for any NXT star involved with WrestleMania.
DYLAN MILEY, HUGO KNOX AND RIDDICK MOSS WILL MAKE AN IMPACT
As more stars move on to the main roster, it’s important for NXT to make sure the up-and-comers play a pivotal role on the show. We saw that recently with Sasha Banks, Charlotte and Becky Lynch moving up and it allowed Bayley to be the top star in the company.
When the likes of Balor and Corbin are vacating those top spots, it’s no secret that they will be tough boots to fill, but we can be sure that right now at the WWE Performance Center the WWE are grooming the next top NXT stars. I feel that three of the top stars on NXT will be Dylan Miley, Hugo Knox and Riddick Moss.
The three of them have very different looks, and they’re all unique which is fantastic. It means they will be top individuals, and that’s a huge plus for NXT. The more top stars NXT possesses, the better and we have three guys who can work and look the part. Only time will tell whether all of the hype and training has paid off but if rumours are anything to go by then Miley, Moss and Knox will be big NXT stars in the coming year.
INDEPENDENT STARS MAKE THE JUMP
If they aren’t able to produce the next batch of top talent in time, then it’s not the end of the world because NXT is the place to be right now and a lot of independent stars understand that. This is why we should expect more big-name additions to link up with NXT in the coming year.
Huge independent stars have already joined the WWE and have achieved a lot. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins had made the jump from the independent scene to FCW before it was NXT, Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens have also done it, as have Finn Balor, Apollo Crews and Samoa Joe. That list will continue to grow, and we’ve recently seen James Storm arrive on NXT as well.
If we believe rumours, then perhaps even Gunner and Austin Aries will link up with NXT in the hope of having success. Fans are continuing to call for big names to make the switch ranging from Ricochet to AJ Styles – 2016 will be an interesting year for NXT and for independent stars who are tempted by offers from the WWE.
LA SOMBRA BECOMES A TOP STAR
Another big star who has linked up with the WWE in recent months is La Sombra, and his arrival has been met with great excitement especially by those who are aware of his work.
We know he’s fantastic in the ring and has a unique look, but there has been speculation that the WWE have big plans for La Sombra when he does eventually debut. They’ve attempted to replace Rey Mysterio a few times, but this could be the one they stick with as there’s no language barrier and he’s never involved in controversy – which the WWE obviously love.
There are plans to push him to the moon, and I believe La Sombra will end up as a top star on NXT, even bigger than Kalisto and it will be met with great excitement for when he does move on to the main roster.
NXT FANS – WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR BOLD PREDICTIONS FOR NXT IN 2016? LET US KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS IN THE COMMENTS SECTION BELOW.